WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined Sen. Jeff Session (R-Ala.) on Wednesday in introducing the Protecting American Lives Act (S.1842), which would combat sanctuary cities and illegal re-entry by enforcing state and local compliance with all federal immigration detainers on aliens in custody.
“We cannot stand by and allow more innocent lives to be lost at the hands of criminally-convicted immigrants finding sanctuary in American cities,” Inhofe said. “Porous borders, careless deportation policies and ignored detainer requests have allowed dangerous criminal aliens to enter and live in the U.S.A. and as a result, innocent Americans have been victimized, kidnapped, or even murdered. Now is the time to finally clean up these often too lenient policies and stop criminally-convicted immigrants from reentering our country again and again. With the Protecting American Lives Act, jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration law will not be eligible to receive federal funds intended for that purpose. We should not be giving tax-payer dollars to state and local law enforcement agencies if they are not willing to enforce the law. It’s either comply with the law of the land, or face the consequences.”
On July 1, 2015 Kate Steinle was allegedly shot and killed by a criminally-convicted, illegal immigrant, Francisco Sanchez. Sanchez has been deported to Mexico five times and has seven prior felony convictions. San Francisco’s sanctuary city policies prohibit authorities from handing over criminal aliens to ICE, so ICE was not notified of Sanchez’s release. From 2010 – 2014, 121 previously convicted criminal immigrants that were released have gone on to be charged with murder.
Inhofe also authored S.291, the Keep Our Communities Safe Act, which would close the legal loophole that requires immigration authorities to release back into the United States any immigrant that has been ordered, but not accepted for deportation to other countries after being detained for six months.